Regarding the ground sense comparator, in the unused circuit example shown in the previous datasheet the - and +input pins are shorted and connected to VEE, but in the new datasheet the -input pin is connected to VEE and it is recommended that the +input pin be connected to a potential within the common mode input range (Vicm) larger than VEE. What's the reason for this change?
There is no problem with the conventional method. Shorting the + and -input pins and connecting them to VEE. In this case the input offset voltage is multiplied by the open loop gain and the output is fixed to High or Low. In the current datasheet the -input terminal is connected to VEE and the +input connected to a potential within the common mode input voltage range higher than VEE. This allows the output to be fixed and supports high impedance, making it recommended for all comparators. Connecting the +input pin to VCC will place it outside the common mode input range, but this shouldn't be a problem.